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Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on United States and Africa: Partnering for Progress

Bureau of Resource Management
November 15, 2010


Photo showing Secretary Clinton and South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding establishing the U.S. and South Africa strategic dialogue, Washington, D.C.,  April 14, 2010.

Secretary Clinton and South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana–Mashabane at a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding establishing the U.S. and South Africa strategic dialogue, Washington, D.C., April 14, 2010. ¬©AP Image

The United States has been a strong advocate of the nations of Africa since their independence and remains determined to support its African partners in achieving the shared long-term goals of democracy, stability, and prosperity. Governments that respect the will of their peoples and govern by consent are more successful and more stable than governments that do not. The United States will work with the international community and civil society in Africa to strengthen democratic institutions, including independent elections commissions, and to preserve the democratic gains made in recent years.

Africa contains many fragile states. Somalia remains locked in a state of war while the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to struggle to defeat rebel forces operating in the eastern part of the country. Tensions are mounting in Southern Sudan. President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to ending armed conflict on the continent by appointing a Special Envoy for Sudan and a Special Advisor for the Great Lakes. The United States is committed to supporting the African Union’s vision of an African Peace and Security Architecture, including the African Standby Force.

The Obama Administration’s new $3.5 billion food security initiative, Feed the Future, will assist 12 African focus countries. The African continent continues to suffer from weak health systems, which are taxed by the ravages of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other health challenges. The United States has a long tradition of investing in the health of the African continent through countless interventions, including providing treatment for millions of AIDS patients, bed nets to prevent malaria, training skilled birth attendants to decrease maternal mortality, and supporting vaccination campaigns to prevent childhood death. The President’s Global Health Initiative continues these activities while focusing on the health of women and girls, integrating services to cover the complete spectrum of health needs, and strengthening health systems.

Many problems — including narcotics trafficking, climate change, trafficking in persons, and violent extremism — jump across national borders and defy easy solutions. The United States is working to help address transnational challenges by bolstering African maritime security and supporting the fight against violent extremism through programs like the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and the East Africa Regional Strategy Initiative. The United States is committed to working with Africans to find viable solutions to the severe consequences of climate change and to build a sustainable, clean energy, global economy.

Africa matters. The history and culture of the United States and Africa are inextricably linked. Our partnership with Africa is based on our mutual desire to promote democracy, good governance and respect for human rights; to achieve peace and security throughout the continent; and to promote economic growth and prosperity for all. While Africa’s future is up to Africans, the United States will continue to play a major role with its African partners in shaping that future.

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